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Getting Back Up

BCCH patient Lynden Criss lost his Canucks jersey in a fire, and Henrik delivers...

by Rachel Villari @Canucks / Vancouver Canucks

Lynden Criss insists he can still use his old hockey helmet.

"It didn't get burned," he says, referring to the fire that engulfed his home eight weeks ago. But everything else did - including his team-signed Canucks jersey. Dad's Trevor Linden jersey, too.

But what Lynden, at eight years old, doesn't understand is that while the helmet might look just fine to use on the outside, the foam on the inside holds toxic fumes left over from exposure to the smoke.

"We can wash it," he maintains, waiting outside the Canucks dressing room, a fresh, new, un-signed jersey in his hand, courtesy of the Canucks for Kids Fund.

"No we can't," Kelly, his dad, says for what must feel like the umpteenth time.

"Yes we can."

Lynden's no-quit attitude is what keeps him, and Kelly, going most days, though. The young boy is resilient. Aside from losing countless possessions in a recent house fire, Lynden has endured four open heart surgeries since he was diagnosed with a heart defect (Tetralogy of Fallot) at 33 weeks. And he is no worse for the wear.

"He really makes me stronger," Kelly says. "That's for sure."

As a patient at B.C. Children's Hospital since 2012, Lynden has befriended anyone who crosses his path. His unabashedly friendly nature is what landed him his first team-signed jersey, when the hospital recommended him as an ambassador to the Canucks for Kids Fund. Last year, when CFKF donated $1 million for a Canucks-themed playroom at the hospital, Lynden was at Rogers Arena for the press conference, only 72 hours out of surgery for his latest heart-valve replacement.

The memory for him is a fond one, as he tells any of the players that will listen that he once got to try on Ryan Miller's helmet. And that he had a jersey with all of their autographs on it - before the fire.

Watch: Youtube Video

As the Canucks roll in to Rogers Arena for a morning skate, Lynden rushes up to them with an enthusiastic wave and introduction. He tells them he is named after Trevor Linden, number 16, and that he is eager to meet Henrik Sedin.

"Are you him?" He asks goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

"No," Marky laughs. "I'm the other Swede. But I've heard of you - you're famous! Can I get your autograph?"

Lynden was just as happy to sign player cards for respective players as he was to have them sign his new jersey. When it was finally time to meet the captain, Lynden followed him throughout his morning routine, asking questions, helping him ready a stick for practice and informing him of his progress skating without assistance.

"That's great!" Henrik cheered. "When you fall what happens?"

"I get back up!"

"That's right. Now you'll need to learn to shoot, let me help you with that."

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